What does Psalm 35:4 mean?
ESV: Let them be put to shame and dishonor who seek after my life! Let them be turned back and disappointed who devise evil against me!
NIV: May those who seek my life be disgraced and put to shame; may those who plot my ruin be turned back in dismay.
NASB: Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life; Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.
CSB: Let those who intend to take my life be disgraced and humiliated; let those who plan to harm me be turned back and ashamed.
NLT: Bring shame and disgrace on those trying to kill me; turn them back and humiliate those who want to harm me.
KJV: Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.
NKJV: Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonor Who seek after my life; Let those be turned back and brought to confusion Who plot my hurt.
Verse Commentary:
Still asking the Lord to defeat his enemies (Psalm 35:1–3), David asks them to be routed, humiliated, and thwarted. Many of David's enemies sought his life (1 Samuel 19:1–2; 2 Samuel 15:13–14). Yet David was sure God could protect him and confound his enemies. In many psalms, David referred to himself as a wanted fugitive, whose enemies wanted nothing less than his death (Psalm 38:12; 40:14; 54:3; 63:9; 70:2).

Those who sought to kill David foreshadow the enemies of his most prominent descendant, Jesus the Messiah. John 7:1 says, "After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him." The chief priests and elders met together in the palace of Caiaphas to plan how to arrest and kill Jesus (Matthew 26:3–4). Unbelievers within Israel had a long history of killing God's prophets and messengers (Matthew 23:34–37).

This wording resembles other "imprecatory psalms"—appeals to God for retribution against enemies—many of which are ascribed to David (Psalm 69:22–25; Psalm 109:8–15).
Verse Context:
Psalm 35:1–10 is the first of three echoes in this psalm, each using the same basic themes. David asks the Lord for defense against enemies. He asks God to stand as his champion, fully armed and in opposition to David's foes. He asks the Lord to vindicate him and destroy the enemy. Each request is accompanied by praise. This segment compares to other "imprecatory psalms" written by David (Psalm 69:22–25; Psalm 109:8–15).
Chapter Summary:
This is one of the "imprecatory psalms," which call on God to immediately judge or destroy His enemies. David echoes the same ideas in three phases. Each segment includes a plea for rescue, a request for God to conquer David's foes, and a promise to praise the Lord. David makes a point of noting that his enemies have no good reason for their hatred, since he was kind to them. With faith, David looks ahead, trusting he will have the opportunity to worship the Lord for His rescue and vindication.
Chapter Context:
David pleads with the Lord to destroy his enemies and vindicate him. As such, Psalm 35 is labeled an "imprecatory psalm." Other examples include psalms 5, 69, 109, and 140. This song might have been written when King Saul was seeking David's life (1 Samuel 19:1–2), or when Absalom was spreading rebellion in Israel (2 Samuel 15:13–14). David' notes three basic ideas in this psalm: vindication, defeat of enemies, and praise of God. Each is repeated in a series of three variations.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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